President Trump is drawing attention to the mysterious federal court case against Imran Awan, the former IT aide to a number of congressional Democrats, including former Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“Whatever happened to this Pakistani guy who worked with the DNC?” the president asked in an interview published Thursday by the New York Times.
A grand jury in August returned an indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, with a total of four counts, which included federal bank fraud and conspiracy. Awan has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“Whatever happened to them?” Trump continued. “With the two servers that they broke up into a million pieces? Whatever happened to him?”
The president brought up the case while denying any collusion between his campaign and the Russians during the 2016 election.
Awan has not been charged with anything specific to his IT duties in Congress. But the case has drawn interest from Republican lawmakers because of Awan’s role for prominent Democrats and the access he had to sensitive data.
Awan and other IT aides for House Democrats had been on investigators’ radar for months over concerns of alleged equipment theft, access to sensitive computer systems and more, according to reports dating back to early 2017.
Awan and his wife are facing allegations they engaged in a conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties – and sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.
Awan was born in Pakistan, but came to the U.S. with his family when he was a teenager, according to The Washington Post. He became a U.S. citizen more than a decade ago.
The broader case surrounding him has put renewed scrutiny on Wasserman Schultz for keeping Awan on the payroll for months, even after a criminal investigation was revealed and he was barred from the House IT network.
Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Wasserman Schultz had kept him on until his arrest in July.
Earlier this month, prosecutors warned that Awan is a “flight risk” and could flee to Pakistan if a judge approves his request to lift “all of the conditions of his release.”
U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu filed a motion before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, urging the court to deny the request from Awan.
Awan is currently enrolled in the High Intensity Supervision Program (HISP) with conditions that he abide by an electronically monitored curfew of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and a limit on traveling beyond 150 miles from his residence, according to court documents. Awan and his attorney want to lift those conditions, including the electronic monitoring bracelet.
“Whatever happened to this Pakistani guy who worked with the DNC?”
Federal prosecutors warned this could give Awan an opening.
“While the government possesses Awan’s Pakistani passport, nothing prevents him from obtaining a new Pakistani passport at the Embassy in D.C. That passport would permit Awan to board a flight and leave the country at any time,” the motion read. “The government asserts that Awan is a flight risk and that his participation in HISP is by far the least restrictive condition that can be imposed on him to ensure his return to Court.”
Wasserman Schultz has blamed the “right-wing media circus fringe” for the attention on Awan.
In an interview published in the Sun Sentinel in August, the former head of the Democratic National Committee suggested it's all part of an effort to distract from the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and possible ties to President Trump's team.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.